The mixed martial arts champion offers guidance like a particularly intense version of Dr. Phil.
Two-time Olympian “Rowdy” Rousey, who was the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo (in Beijing in 2008), is a titleholder and pioneer in MMA, a full-contact combat sport that is rapidly gaining in popularity. Yet, despite her fearsome image and dominance in the arena, she tells readers on Page 1, "I am vulnerable; that's why I fight." Throughout the book, the author’s writing reveals her fighter's mentality. In the chapter "Pain Is Just One Piece of Information,” she urges readers not "to allow pain to dictate [your] decision-making" and tells the shocking story of how she once popped her dislocated elbow back into place during a match—and before the end of the round. Though her statement “when I lose, I mourn a piece of me dying" might seem like an overstatement, it reflects the intense passion (a major motif throughout) and self-applied pressure that make her a champion. Similar, but tamer, adages appear in dozens of business and self-help books, but Rousey offers them in her take-no-prisoners style. Her experiences and storytelling are engrossing and entertaining, but her narration loses steam as the book progresses and she shifts focus from tough-talk adages and encouragement ("To get anything of real value, you have to fight for it”) to recaps of each of her professional MMA battles. The book is just too long; it could have been more than 50 pages shorter, and Rousey would still have inspired her readers. But her warrior mentality is always evident, and one of her more helpful pieces of advice is to feel angry, not sad, after a loss. She urges would-be elite athletes—and really, anyone—to set goals, then become obsessed with elevating them.
Plainspoken, often repetitive, and always fiery. Rousey is a fierce yet endearing role model—and a woman possessed.